RE: The Running Tide 10 minute filler after 1977 PBS broadcast of OL

Forum Forums General Discussions The Running Tide 10 minute filler after 1977 PBS broadcast of OL RE: The Running Tide 10 minute filler after 1977 PBS broadcast of OL

Found it! For some inexplicable reason your email was in the spam folder on a different address of mine!

— On Thu, 16/5/13, <> wrote:

From: <>
Subject: Re: [shiponedingroup] Re: The Running Tide 10 minute filler after 1977 PBS broadcast of OL
Date: Thursday, 16 May, 2013, 3:43


No… no contradictions I can think of, Richard. I'll have to see if I can hunt it down, but that's unlikely as our e-mail settings purge sent mail after a day or so. I do think we were on the same wavelength, though. I did elaborate some on my helmsman quals while I was stationed on my buoy tender in the early 1980s and how I got to know my helm to the point that I didn't need a wheel angle indicator or rudder angle indicator to know where my rudder was, or how long it took to get there. (Might have thrown in a sea story or two as well to go along with that.)

I also made reference to the "master spoke" on a ship's wheel being marked by (usually) a Turk's Head knot, or in some cases a differently carved wheel pin: the master spoke being at the center top of the wheel when the rudder was at amidships (if things were aligned properly). I covered how on my buoy tender one full turn of the wheel gave 6 degrees of rudder, and that on average "full" rudder was considered to be 30 degrees: hard or emergency rudder was 35 degrees – at least on the classes of ships I'd been stationed on.

I did provide links to images of the steering mechanism you described. I can find them again if my reply is forever lost in the "bit bucket". (Visual aids are good at times like that.)

Most everything else was on par with what you said, though I may have gone into more detail about freeboard and how that would come into play with heeling and taking water over the rails.


—–Original Message—–
From: R <>
To: shiponedingroup <>
Sent: Tue, May 14, 2013 3:21 pm
Subject: Re: [shiponedingroup] Re: The Running Tide 10 minute filler after 1977 PBS broadcast of OL

I look forward to seeing your response, wherever it has got to! (sorry if I've contradicted anything you have written!)

— On Tue, 14/5/13, <> wrote:

From: <>
Subject: Re: [shiponedingroup] Re: The Running Tide 10 minute filler after 1977 PBS broadcast of OL
Date: Tuesday, 14 May, 2013, 19:39

Wow! Great reply. I sent one last night answering some of this. I wonder why it never came through?

Watch… it will show up well after this discussion is over.


—–Original Message—–
From: R <>
To: shiponedingroup <>
Sent: Tue, May 14, 2013 9:17 am
Subject: Re: [shiponedingroup] Re: The Running Tide 10 minute filler after 1977 PBS broadcast of OL

this is hilarious, where would we be if pre-Harrison sailors didn't
trust captains with vague heuristics

A good captain would be trusted to the hilt and is a god-like figure onboard, his was and still is the final word, onboard. Sadly some actually come to believe it in other aspects of their lives!
I've sailed with men I trust with my life and others I wouldn't trust as far as I could spit against a strong wind, (watch the Spencer Tracy film 'Captains Couragous', technically very good too) that doesn't mean you neccessarily like the good ones though. One fella I sailed under was a total parentless so & so but his navigation and seamanship was second to none such as entering a particularly difficult harbour in Brittany in thick fog by dead reckoning alone, that is with no electronic navigational aids.

"That is astounding, precision engineering that allows such a huge mass
to be kept centered in an unstable equilibrium with such a small force."

Yes, it does seem so on the surface but most wheels have some sort of gearing to reduce the load on your arms, Soren Larsen used the gearbox from a lorry, sorry, 'truck' for our colonial cousins, earlier ships used custom made 'worm' gearing. All sailing vessels will have a tiller of some sorts whatever steering system is used and it's the tiller that is then moved by another means to allow one man to move the rudder however large, even ships in the time of Columbus used the Whipstaff', a simple and crude method of moving the tiller by pivoting a vertical lever up through a slot in the deck, the lower end attached to the end of the tiller and the upper end pushed to port or starboard to steer. All tillers should have an emergency method of steering should the steering gear fail and mostly that was blocks and tackles rigged either side of the tiller to each side of the vessel, this was how the wheel came into being, as steering evolved the ends of the
rope tackles could be taken to the bottom of the whipstaff then later in history the whipstaff done away with and to a drum turned by a wheel, many big steamers were still being steered this way centuries later with chains running through tubes along the decks.

The most important aspect to steering a sailing vessel is to retain some 'feel' in the helm and to be able to make the ship react immediately to any movement of the helm, a straightforward tiller is the best for this but when vessels get larger and the tiller longer with the increased size of the rudder so becomes too difficult to handle some form of gearing has to be introduced which is where one begins to lose feel if not done well or too much.

Motor vessels are a different kettle of fish, they are being steered to a course not the wind so do not need either an immediate response or the same degree of feel in relation to the wind, many will be designed with what are known as balanced rudders, ie a small section of the rudder area forward of the rudder post which takes most if not all water pressure out of the equasion, a practice never done on sailing vessels as this can kill any feel in a helm completely but can make lighter steering in a motorship which in the early days before servo assisted steering could also allow a smaller wheel to be used.

As to angle of the rudder, not really in issue except in regards to drag affecting speed, the greater the angle the greater the drag. As to angle of heel vs rudder, the further from vertical the rudder post is the less turning effect the rudder has on the vessel, put simply steering is being lost and the vessel will round up into the wind uncontrolably. This is why many ultra modern racing yachts have two rudders and helms, each rudder splayed outwards so when heeled one rudder is nearer to vertical than the other.

Knowing visually how central or 'midships' the wheel is doesn't really matter and how many full turns it takes to move the rudder only dictates sensitivity, Formula One cars = a fraction of a turn of the wheel and whoosh, it's off the track vs my old Landrover with it's huge wheel = half a turn and it gradually heads for the kerb!
The feel will tell you if things are out of kilter, too much weather helm, ie too much effort to hold her on a straight course will mean basically she's out of balance and the sails need adjusting, once you've taken the helm and settled into her you'll quickly learn how many spokes are needed to keep her on course, having a mark on the central spoke to feel in the dark or see in daylight is a simple aid to knowing how many spokes are needed for any one course but again not desperately needed.

In theory on a well balanced vessel yes, if you were to let go of the wheel the rudder should return to midships and if exceptionally well balanced will sail herself with no one touching the wheel or tiller but the vessel will probably just keep swinging up into the wind which is a good thing, a kind of safety measure and helps you steer or if you fall overboard as a solo sailor the yacht will stop. Steering means giving her a spoke or two, watch the compass begin it's swing back on course and before she does return the wheel to 'neutral' position and wait for the ship to swing back on course, as the desired course approaches on the compass give her those spokes again to slow her swing, watch for the compass to stop and hopefully settle on the exact course but more likely swing a degree or two past it so re-apply however many spokes are needed to bring her back and so it goes. Basically you're only actually steering her in one direction, she will
bring herself back the other way. You need to do it!

Angle of deck before taking water? Too many variables for any hard and fast rules, rule of thumb, maybe 30deg and upwards? Common angles of heel? Anything from horizontal to vertical! (almost joking!) vertical would be a broach or being knocked down, not nice.

Yes hull shape plays it's part but also the angle of the mast will mean the sails are not working efficiently. if at all and steering compromised.

The skipper of Osprey passed comment on the owners reproductive ability, intelligence and parentage in that order and in words of two syllables each………(FSB)

Yes, you've got it spot on with regards spiralling the yards.

Clean wet decks are slippy! Deck shoes make a huge difference but greasy dirty decks are more slippy when wet. They used sand as well as a stone, an early form of sandpapering!
Running is just plain dangerous especially on a heaving deck, imagine running and suddenly going weightless, heaven knows where you'd land! The effect increasing at the ends of the ship. Great fun though!

Coming about is changing course by turning the ship's bows through the eye of the wind, ie the direction the wind is coming from.
Getting caught in irons is when attempting to go about and the vessel stalls and stops dead in the water pointing straight into the wind and wont turn either way as there's no water passing over the rudder to give steerage. The solution can be to back a headsail or two by pulling it's sheet taught in the hope the wind will get on the wrong side of it and push the head of the ship across, at the same time turn the rudder in the opposite direction to help the stern swing and get the wind in a position where the rest of the sails can fill and begin to get her underway again, basically go astern or backwards to reverse out of the predicament.
I have done almost this on the Soren when filming was done in Falmouth we were heading up Channel home to Brightlingsea in Essex and too close in to Portland Bill, the wind suddenly backed and pushed us into Lyme Bay. We had to quickly fire up the engine and motor out of the situation but in the days of sail wiith no motors it would have been a different problem indeed! Sailing pilots (books) all said to give Portland a very wide berth with winds ahead of the beam.

Leanora's swinging boom? I don't know the episode but booms do swing for all sorts of reasons either with or without sail set.
If sailing downwind or in very light or flukey winds in a lumpy sea on a rolling ship a boom can suddenly swing or flail about, it is common practice, even on modern yachts, to rig a preventer, a simple length of rope, to hold the boom one side or the other to help control it.

Cor blimey missus, I should write a book and tell you to buy a copy!!

Hope that answers all so far? Ask more anytime..


— On Tue, 14/5/13, Lee Bonnifield <> wrote:

From: Lee Bonnifield <>
Subject: Re: [shiponedingroup] Re: The Running Tide 10 minute filler after 1977 PBS broadcast of OL
Date: Tuesday, 14 May, 2013, 3:19

On 5/12/2013 9:54 AM, R wrote:
> Gosh, you want a whole treatise on the subject of naval architecture eh?

Thanks for all the info! I understand how specific questions would be a
lot easier, what you've provided is useful.

> Everything to do with the design of a vessel is a compromise and each
> part has a direct effect on the rest, it's far too complicated a subject
> to cover in one short email, prismatic coefficients, lateral plain
> centres, the curve of areas when drawn giving an indication of weather
> or lee helm at the drawing board stage but that in turn being as a
> direct correlation to the centre of effort of combined or reefed sails,
> I can hear you snoring already! It would be much more simple for me to
> answer one direct question at a time.

No snoring, but I understand this is a very complicated problem, trying
to go X direction when the wind is blowing Y direction. and sails are
angled Z, rudder W, keel V, submerged hull shape U.

> Pre Harrison Longitude was guessed, it was common practise from the days
> of Columbus to sail South to a known Latitude, 'Sail South until the
> butter melts then head West',

this is hilarious, where would we be if pre-Harrison sailors didn't
trust captains with vague heuristics

> wind I felt a pull at the wheel, weather helm it's known as, ie the
> vessel wants to round up into the wind and you need to apply pressure on
> the wheel to stop her and all it took to hold her on course was one or
> at the most two spokes from midships,

That is astounding, precision engineering that allows such a huge mass
to be kept centered in an unstable equilibrium with such a small force.

I don't see any marker on the wheel that would let you know that the
rudder is directly in line with the keel. Is there one, how do you know
how many spokes you are from midships? I see 8 spokes on Soren Larsen
wheel. How many 360 degree turns of the wheel would move the rudder from
full left to full right? What angle to keel is full left? If you let go
of the wheel. will the rudder line up with the keel?

> as the further a vessel heels the slower she will be and more
> difficult she is to handle.

Because of the different shape of the hull cross section below water
when boat is heeling?
I see that a symmetrical cross section (no
heeling) would be most sensitive to rudder direction. A horizontal deck
might happen only with sailing down wind, what deck angles from
horizontal are common?

> rest of us were in our bunks. During his watch the wind slowly increased
> in strength and due to his inexperience he let the ship
> heel more and more until she was taking water over the rail,

What angle from horizontal does the deck have to be to take water over
the rail?

> the motion
> threw the very experienced Dutch skipper out of his bunk! He came on
> deck to find the owner with a huge grin saying "Man look at the old girl
> go!!". I can't repeat what the skipper said in reply……. !

Let's make this deck more horizontal please before we sink

> 'stacking' on Sea Cloud, each yard being held in it's position by a
> Brace from each end. This means that the smallest sail, the one at the
> very top of the mast, will have it's windward edge closer to the
> direction from where the wind is coming than the one below and the one
> below that and so on, so

The bit about stacking the sails in a spiral makes sense, and I hadn't
noticed it. So, the wind changes direction, the helmsman notices the
highest sail luffing.

> preferably by regularly keeping a weather eye on the
> 'Luff' of that small sail and be able to take action by 'Putting the
> Helm Down'

that is, adjusting the angle of the rudder so that the keel comes closer
to the direction of the wind (closer to sailing directly downwind) and
the highest small sail is filled again

> Holy stoning with a block of soft sandstone the size of a large bible,
> hence the name,

see, I learned something, I figured it was pumice & holy because pumice
Cleaning a dirty deck improves traction, OK. Why isn't a heeling clean
wet deck so slippery that you can't run on it?

What is going on when I hear:
"I don't want her in irons"
"prepare to come about"
Leonora almost gets walloped with a swinging boom — altho I guess that
happened when a rope was loose (S3N1), that boom should have been tied
to leeward


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]